Elbow in Your Ear?


Guy  focused on his ear

Guy focused on his ear

Most people over 30 have heard the adage of “Nothing larger than your elbow in your ear canal”.

This has been promoted and handed down for generations by healthcare professionals and grandparents as gospel. When I first heard it I was intrigued with the mechanics of how could an individual angle their elbow to enter the ear canal. It just isn’t possible to get your elbow anywhere near your ear canal. Plus whoever had any sense of the diameter of their elbow? Is the elbow just the point or does it include the skin and bone? I am not sure where the elbow begins and the muscles of my forearm and arm end.

Measure the diameter of an elbow?

It’s not easy to measure the diameter of an elbow unless you hold it up pointing out and flex you arm back. At that angle you can hold a ruler with your second hand and try and decide on the width and height to determine a possible diameter. In my case I am guessing that an inch or basically somewhere between 2 and 3 centimeters is the widest object permitted in my ear canal based on the adage. Therefore fingers, Q-tips, pencils, pen, paperclips and screwdrivers are excluded. Looking around it seems only things like a baseball bat, broom handle, knife or umbrella handle are allowed.

The take home message: stay out of your ears!

Other than the use of drops and water nothing is meant to enter the ear canal.

– Dr Michael Scherl